A zombie smile makes me smile. The yellow teeth and red blood glistening off the undead’s neck gives me a sense of purpose in my writing. I don’t write about zombies (maybe one day I will) but I can’t get enough of zombie flicks and books. The most recent book I read–Mountain Man by Keith Blackmore–struck up some thoughts about how zombies, or the people running from them, are the perfect role models for writers.
The idea of a world with blood-thirsty, sub-human beasts sprinting towards shotgun wielding tough guys and girls puts the need to write in perspective. It poses the question: What if the world ended tomorrow? How would you respond?
Take a look at some other top zombie books and see how the themes and dialogue transmits a lesson to all writers. Zombies can help you write every day–if you’re up for a run.
Your Ideas Will Continue To Haunt You
Alive or dead, the truth won’t rest. Rise up while you can.
― Mira Grant, Feed
Mira Grant provides an interesting look into how, in a zombie world, you can’t avoid the truth. The same goes for writers who continually avoid the fact that they need to write. When you forget to write, the ideas still linger. They clatter around in your head and make you feel angry, frustrated and even depressed. The truth in your mind is always present. You have the option to embrace it by writing it down or letting it haunt you forever.
What People Say Doesn’t Matter
I will not negotiate with the undead!
― David Wellington, Monster Island
As stated in Monster Island you don’t want to negotiate with the undead. We aren’t artists for gratification or feedback. We write to live our lives truthfully and explore worlds we never knew existed. Don’t negotiate with critics. Don’t let people chase you down and eat your dreams. Your words are beautiful as long as they remain uncompromised.
You Can’t Buy Writing In A Store
You know, surprisingly, they don’t sell a lot of brains in the local 24-hour grocery store around the corner from my house.
― Rusty Fischer, Zombies Don’t Cry
Before I started writing consistently, I read books on writing on a non-stop basis. I partook in classes to improve my grammar and increase motivation. Books and classes and software help your writing, but there’s no substitute for sitting down and hammering away at the keyboard.
Stay Hungry. Stay Relentless.
Nothing is impossible to kill. It’s just that sometimes after you kill something you have to keep shooting it until it stops moving.
― Mira Grant, Feed
The “Double Tap” rule from Zombieland comes to mind on this one. The protagonist shoots zombies twice in order to make sure they’re dead. If you don’t double tap with your writing then you cannot succeed. Writing every day doesn’t always include writing. Take time to edit and refine your words. Take your manuscript or blog post, pull out your gun and shoot it again.
Walking out in the middle of a funeral would be, of course, bad form. So attempting to walk out on one’s own was beyond the pale.
― Steve Hockensmith, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls
What’s one of the first pieces of text you see in a book? The dedication of course. Like fighting zombies, writing is an endless process. Millions of undead people is no match for a person with a Ruger. A market filled with millions of authors, writers and bloggers is no match for a single writer. Team up with people who know more about writing than you to motivate your creative process.
Don’t Let The World Suppress Your Creativity
Everyone is born a freak,” notes Hayley. “Every newborn baby, wet and hungry and screaming, is a fresh-hatched freak who wants to have a good time and make the world a better place. . . . Most teenagers wind up in high school. And high school is where the zombification process becomes deadly.
― Laurie Halse Anderson, The Impossible Knife of Memory
Zombification is inevitable in the world we live in. We go through high school and college, get jobs and sit in a setting that drains the creativity from our minds. Train yourself to remain the freak you were born as. Weird is cool. Weird people–the one’s who run the world–are the folks that fight the process of modern zombification.
You’re a Writer If You Keep On Writing
It had occurred to him that if the undead don’t realize that they are dead, he might easily be one of them himself.
― Dan Chaon, Stay Awake
How can you realize that you’re a writer? The same way you can check to see if you’re a zombie: You can’t until you’re completely submersed.
Well, that’s enough zombies for one day. Let me know in the comments section if you have any other points on how writers can learn from zombies.